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Not a labor of love

Stephanie Ebbert's lead on this story about a state trooper on Rte. 2 and a woman in labor both sums it up and makes you want to read more:

All too often, the congested roads of Greater Boston conspire with the vagaries of childbirth to leave a mother-to-be in a car on the roadside at one of life's most critical moments. A hard-bitten state trooper shows up and morphs into a highway midwife, clearing the newborn's nose and mouth, cutting the cord, and sometimes even saving a life.

This is not one of those stories.

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Comments

Well, actually, neither. I think somebody forgot something here ... like, who he works for? His first responder training in first aid? Where the money for his salary comes from?

Maybe he never really bought into the mission he signed on for? (hint: it isn't "escape is futile")

I'm sure if it was HIS wife in labor, that would be different!

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10 months to plan their pregnancy, and the best the can come up with is "I hope there is no traffic"...without traffic, it is 45 minutes from Dracut to Mt. Auburn. These people are not the victims here, we are all victims for having to suffer from hearing them whine when they brought this on themselves.

They had time to drop poor little Brendan off, yet they still are in such a rush that traffic laws shouldn't apply to them?

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If you do, then save this. Them's tasty words to eat.

Do share your extensive knowledge of pregnancy and the robotic progression of labor with the midwives and OB/GYNs of the world, though. I'm sure they would like to know how very plannable and predictable these things are (and what your secret is for making them that way).

The cop should have forced them back into traffic. He's lucky that detaining them didn't result in other than scary inconvenience.

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was to lead them in the breakdown lane, with blue light flashing, and have them tailgate him until they exited the highway.

I've always assumed that any emergency trip to the hospital (including an imminent delivery) allows drivers to do whatever they need to do to get there.

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THey get a bill for that time. What should he do when the get to Rt. 16? Is he supposed to lead them all the way to the hospital?

I have a better idea, they could have brought little Brendan along, and taken their time driving through Lexington and Arlington and gotten there just as quickly. But I forgot, they had a plan. It was "I hope there's no traffic." Just cause "Hope and Change" are the new mantra of this country doesn't mean hoping solves problems. I "hope" they learned a lesson, but I "know" they didn't. They think they are victims, I think they are morons.

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he could have just said "do whatever you need to from here, it's only one more mile." If Route 16 was crowded they could turn left onto Rindge Ave. and then zoom down Sherman St.

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well if it was such an emergency that they need an escort, why ar ethey "on their own" from there? I would be afraid they would do what you suggest and then continue their lawless ways and kill some kid walking to school crossing Fayerweather Street or something.

The bottom line is they did not treat it like an emergency unless it was convenient for them. They are self important jerks looking to get a little face time on TV while slamming a guy doing his job. btw, if he really wanted to be a jerk he could have made them wiat while he wrote up a citation, but he did realize they needed to be on their way. He offered to call an ambulance too. He wasn't an obstrucitonist.

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As somebody who once regularly drove from Alewife (where I would drop 1 year old #1Son with his dad) to Lowell and back, I'm scratching my head as to why they were even on Rt. 2 to begin with.

However, my GPS sends me down rt. 3 to 128 to rt. 2.

At least my midwives when I was pregnant with #1 gave out a "best routes to Brigham and Women's" that were more varied and routed around likely rush hour jammage.

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except I would have exited Route 3 to Middlesex Turnpike in Burlington, then gone down Lowell Street to Park Ave (Arlington Heights) to Route 2.

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I'd get to Alewife area by several different ways ... but I wouldn't get on Rt. 2 there ... I'd stay on the access road and swing through ADL (where I used to work)to get around Alewife the back way.

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Okay, lets look at some scenarios.

His delaying the couple leads to an on-road birth on the roads leading to Mt. Auburn. That means ambulance, police, and a huge snarl.

They get worried and call an ambulance. The ambulance arrives, snarls traffic worse, etc. The ambulance also costs a great deal of money.

Other cops clearly understood the situation and permitted them to drive in the lane. They guy even asked the third cop, who decided to detain them rather than move them along to avoid the EXPENSIVE AND UNNECESSARY CONSEQUENCES described above.

I just love it when people have such "common sense" that they can't even do some simple scenario analysis or math. Must be a convenient time saver versus having to think about it.

Just because your little police state valhalla dreamworld of authoritarian perfection got voted out doesn't mean that you get to make all these judgement calls here when you really have no understanding of what this situation is or would be like.

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And he pulled them over? Would that change things? Where do you draw the line? What if a kid got run over? Was that worth it?

Laws are laws, if you start allowing them to be bent here or there, why have them?

Meanwhile, are the police to be on standby to personally escort every person who "wants" to have a baby wherever they want? Who is supposed to pick up the tab for the police assistance? What if the trooper was not there, but a guy changing a flat was and this couple couldn't stop in time? Why are people jumping to the defense of these people? I don't get it...maybe its because I am not a parent...but I just see two people who created their own problem and now want to play the victim.

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Explain.

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I don't know, its a judgement call...Why do some people get speeding tickets and some don't? Do we even know that really happened? Has that been corroborated by anyone but these two? How often is there one, nevermind 3 troopers on Rt. 2 at the same time?

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I see a bunch of people who have nothing to do with it screaming at each other.

The couple was miffed. They talked to the press. They embarrassed the cop. And, according to the latest report, they plan to appeal the ticket and leave it at that.

It's a great story. Mean Mr. Cop. Poor frantic parents to be. The stuff sentimental journalism is made of. News at Eleven!!! And in the morning, a paroxysm of vituperation hits the blogs.

But it passes, because nobody actually got hurt. The baby wasn't actually imminent (born 5 hours later). And the cop actually didn't violate any laws or regulations. He just maybe was a little bit mean. He gave them a ticket for doing something dangerous in their panic instead of just waving them on.

As anon said, what if a guy were on the shoulder changing his tire? There's a reason it's prohibited to drive on the shoulder: it's dangerous. So the cop had a choice to make, and he chose public safety over private kindness. Yeah, I think he should not have given them a ticket either. But so what?

When I took my wife to the birthing center for delivery, it was imminent. She delivered about fifteen minutes after we got there. And I didn't speed, and I didn't drive on a shoulder, and I didn't endanger anybody. Why? Because I really had to get there, and avoiding potential accidents is probably a much better way to ensure on-time arrival than pretending you're Keanu Reeves in some movie. Yeah, when your wife is at the end of labor in the back seat, that's a really bad time to drive recklessly. I can't think of a worse time, really.

It looks to me like everybody here made some bad choices. But nobody got hurt. So maybe us people who it's got nothing to do with can get over it already.

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they could have brought little Brendan along

You really think so? Okay. Then what. They give him 10 bucks to go to Harvard Square and chat up some itinerants? The mother needs a birth attendant and the kid can't be on the ward.

I really hope you learn about some of this messy reality stuff before you procreate. TV is not reality.

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I certainly wouldn't have handled that way, but the Trooper did nothing wrong. The couple was breaking the law and they thought they had a good excuse. The trooper disagreed.

If the couple thought it was that much of an emergency, they should have called an ambulance. Since the wife refused, they can't really complain.

(This, coming from a guy who's probably going to have to fight his way down Rts. 24 & 140 to get his wife if she goes into labor during the workday.)

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They don't have facilities for people who travel longer distances to hang out, so they force laboring women to go home or stay home, rather than travel while the weather is still good or when it isn't rush hour yet.

This had rather epic consequences when our upstairs neighbor went into labor just as snow began to fall at the start of the April Fool storm. Mount Auburn sent her home under the usual "contractions every x minutes" rule. They were using security to escort people out so they wouldn't stay.

We kept them shoveled out and the plow jockey across the street cleared the plow tailings and kept the street clear until the left at 2am, but they almost didn't make it because the snow was piling up very fast. A plowman on Alewife Brook Parkway found them stuck at a plow tailing at an interstection and then led them all the way to the hospital.

Fortunately Mr. Plowman was judicious rather than officious.

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There are no hospitals closer to Dracut that have decent delivery units?

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It is possible to have a medically normal pregnancy for the mother, yet still have the kinds of high risks for the infant that demand a higher level of neonatal care than some of the non-Boston hospitals can offer.

That said, brand names are a problem - especially since many of these "brand name" hospitals advertise their services in distant communities, but will turn back a laboring mother if they think she is there "too early" because they don't have an area for people to hang out such that they can travel at reasonable times and before dangerous weather. I don't know if they are still as ridiculous about those policies as they were in 1997, but it is one reason why you get the highway births.

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Living 30 miles away from the hospital and hoping that they wouldn't have to travel down the usually congested roads at rush hour. I know that they were happy with Mt. Auburn in the past, but I'm sure there are some fine maternity centers up in the Merrimack Valley that are much closer. Another alternative would have been to go by ambulance. They potentially endangered themselves and other drivers by driving in the breakdown lane.

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Mr. Trooper certainly did do something wrong, although in a way it is how he thinks and as such not totally his fault. He was so literal that it was like checking his brains at the barracks door before starting work.

That rules-are-rules mentality is common among bureaucrats. It relieves them of thinking. Emerson nailed it with his "foolish consistency" description.

The deliciously pompous Transcendentalist got that right in Self-Reliance with:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.

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The couple was breaking the law and they thought they had a good excuse. The trooper disagreed.

They did have a good excuse, and the two other troopers they encountered recognized that. Obviously this trooper disagreed; his disagreement was clearly wrongheaded.

If the couple thought it was that much of an emergency, they should have called an ambulance.

They were in a traffic jam approaching Alewife on Route 2 and they were headed to Mt. Auburn Hospital, about 2 1/2 miles away. Calling an ambulance at that point would have been futile; what's worse, it would have wasted the ambulance's time. It was odd that the trooper even suggested it.

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They did have a good excuse, and the two other troopers they encountered recognized that. Obviously this trooper disagreed; his disagreement was clearly wrongheaded.

Doesn't matter that the two other troopers thought it was OK. It is 100% a judgment call to give them a pass.

They were in a traffic jam approaching Alewife on Route 2 and they were headed to Mt. Auburn Hospital, about 2 1/2 miles away. Calling an ambulance at that point would have been futile; what's worse, it would have wasted the ambulance's time. It was odd that the trooper even suggested it.

They knew there was traffic when they were coming from the Merrimac valley. They should have called the ambulance there. They assumed they could ride in the breakdown lane.

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1) The lady can have a baby in whichever hospital she wants. It's a free market society.

2) That said, why pick a hospital that won't let you come in early to give birth? Are they at capacity? The pregnant lady is the customer, one who drove 30 miles to patronize the business. Remind me when I knock somebody up not to do business with Mt. Auburn. I have lady friends who do not intend to ever give birth in a hospital. Can't say I fault them. Hire a midwife for a fraction of the price.

3) How long has Trooper #3 been on the job? I'd like to think that a younger trooper would radio the first two for guidance if he wasn't the senior officer. I'm as pro-cop as anybody on the board, but I really don't care for the Massachusetts State Police. Stories like this don't improve my opinion of them.

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Ha, this showed up on the front page of CNN.com today, "above the fold" too.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/04/campbell.br...

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The story is getting national play. I saw it on Countdown on MSNBC last night as well.

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Must've been a slow day at MSNBC:

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